Monday, June 2, 2008

Veldon's Funeral

Ryan's Dad, Veldon, passed away on Sunday, May 18th at about 8am. He was diagnosed with cancer in March 2004 (a little over 4 years ago). We are so sad to have lost such a wonderful part of our family but so grateful for the great example he was and the legacy of love that he left for us.

Ryan spent many of his Dad's last days by his side. He was on his way home to help the girls and I return to Texas when his dad passed away peacefully. Most of the children, spouses and grandchildren arrived the Tuesday after he died. It was a bitter-sweet reunion. So much love and so many fun times together but so sad that Veldon would not be a part of our reunions anymore.

Veldon filled a special place in my heart. I couldn't have asked for better parents-in-law! As I listened to and read the many messages, cards and things that others said about Veldon I realized that I'm not alone in the way I feel. Veldon had an amazing gift to love people unconditionally and to help each individual feel special and important. In this world of selfishness and hurry he had a gift of truly listening. His example inspires me to be better!

Here's pictures, narrative and stories of what we did:

We all arrived at almost the same time on Tuesday. What a blessing that we could gather so quickly and be a strength to each other at this time!

Wednesday morning we all went to the cemetary that Veldon would be buiried in. It's a very historic but small and friendly cemetary. It was good to be able to go see it before the funeral.

The viewing was at the morturary on Wednesday night. We took most of the grandkids over a little before it started. What an awesome time to teach kids about the difference between our spirit and our body and talk about what happens when we die. We talked about it before we went in and explained that this was just Grandpa's body. His spirit was in heaven now. We told them that he would look like he was sleeping. They didn't seem scared. It all seemed so natural to them. When Maya saw the camera she told me she wanted a picture next to Grandpa. As we were standing there I said "do you want to tell Grandpa 'I love you'?" She said very sweetly, "No, he's not talking anymore." These little ones understand so much and have such simple faith!

It surprised me how much Maya understood. In the week after he passed away I often heard her saying quietly and sadly "G'pa died, G'pa died, I miss him."

I ran Hayley and Maya home before people started arriving at the viewing (kids can only hold still for so long!) and left them with some friends that offered to babysit. As we got in the car I wanted to make sure they were both okay after seeing Grandpa's body. So I asked, "How was the viewing?" Hayley (who likes to use big words...even if she's not sure how they should be used!) thought really hard for a minute then responded "Ummm...He was....stylish!" (said very reverently) I had a hard time not laughing. "You mean Grandpa looked nice?" "Yeah" Grandpa can rest in peace knowing that his Grandaughter said he was "stylish" at his funeral!

We laughed and cried at the funeral. So many wonderful stories and heartfelt emotions were shared. I was so proud of all Veldon & Joyce's kids as they stood and shared thoughts and stories and their love for their Dad. After the funeral we drove to the cemetary for the graveside prayer. The grandkids all put flowers on the casket. After that friends had prepared a big lunch for us back at the church so we headed back there.

We rested and played back at the house during the afternoon. Then at 7pm all of the extended family that had come into town (Veldon's 4 brothers and 1 sister and many nephews and neices) came over to the house for dessert. It was fun to see everyone and visit. Veldon's Mom even made the long trip from Utah. It was good to see her too!

We all enjoyed so many beautiful flower arrangements all week and even better all the cards and notes that came with messages of support and love! The house looked gorgeous! Here's just a few:


Smith Family said...

We're so sorry to hear about your loss. We didn't know him but it sounds like he was a great man and we know he raised a terrific son. Hope you guys are doing well.

Rhonda said...

Your collages all turned out so great JaNae. It was so good to be able to see you. I hope you are all doing okay. Great posts!

Paul and Nancy Garner said...

Veldon was such a wonderful man! I love him so much. Thanks for letting us be part of your family. We love them! The pictures are wonderful! xxx

Ferrel Family said...

I had no idea JaNae and Ryan. I'm so sorry. The few times I was able to meet your dad/father-in-law, he was just so sweet and nice. Just like you described him JaNae. He truely had a gift of loving people and they all loved him. I'm glad Hayley and Mia were able to understand, and I loved Hayley comment about him being stylish. Kids are so sweet. Ryan and JaNae, you are doing a terrific job of carring on his legacy of Love, you have a beautiful family.